Reform Scotland

Independent Scotland the most centralised country in the world, says think tank

New Reform Scotland report shows SNP’s vision of independence would leave central government with 100% fiscal control

Reform Scotland, the independent think tank, has produced detailed research of all parties’ proposals for the future of Scotland and found that, under the SNP, Scotland will be the most fiscally centralised democracy in the world (see table in notes to editors and attached).

Scotland’s Future: the constitutional report card, looked at the three pro-UK parties’ proposals for enhanced devolution as well as the Green and SNP proposals for independence.

Whilst the Green proposals outlined a vision for far greater local accountability, the SNP offered no decentralisation to local authorities.

At present, non-domestic rates are centrally set, removing local accountability. The other tax for which Holyrood is responsible, council tax, has been centrally frozen, again removing genuine local accountability. The tax which the SNP proposed to replace council tax with – a local income tax – was to be a centrally-set rate of 3p in the £, which, once again, would involve no local accountability.

Commenting, Reform Scotland Chairman Ben Thomson said:

“The SNP’s vision for an independent Scotland includes no form of fiscal decentralisation to local authorities. They are effectively proposing to replace a highly centralised fiscal regime based at Westminster with an entirely centralised fiscal regime based at Holyrood.

“The white paper points to local government structures in countries such as Germany, Denmark and Sweden, but the main reason their structures work is because they have significant financial decentralisation.

“The Green party has shown that there is no need to link independence to centralisation – they have a vision of a decentralised, independent Scotland.

“In contrast, under the SNP, Scotland would be the world’s most fiscally centralised democracy. The SNP says that they want decisions to be made closest to the people affected by them, but if that is to truly mean anything they must prove that they are not the party of centralisation.”